Cool birds

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaDown-filled parkas and 100-degree August weather don’t mix. Just ask the average chicken in Georgia.Twenty years ago, combining feather-insulated chickens and heat waves would spell financial death to most Georgia producers. Now, technology keeps the record hot weather from posing a problem.“We used to know we were in a heat wave by the dead chicken stories on the nightly news,” said state climatologist David Stooksbury. “Because of the great work of University of Georgia engineers and poultry scientists, we don’t have those stories anymore.”New technologies aren’t just keeping chickens alive. They’ve helped create a bird boom in south Georgia.“The poultry industry in Georgia continues to expand 3 percent to 5 percent a year. And almost all of that is in south Georgia,” said Mike Lacy, poultry science department head at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Even with price declines in 2006, poultry is easily Georgia’s top farm commodity, with more than 40 percent of the total. Broilers had a farm sales value of $3.8 billion in 2006. Eggs were worth $447.9 million.While chickens are still raised mostly in north Georgia, new facilities are adding to the southern boom.In Moultrie, Ga., Sanderson Farms recently completed a new complex that will produce 60 million to 70 million birds a year. And in Perry, Ga., Perdue Farms is expanding with what will be that company’s largest facility.Heat can still kill chickens. But losses are centered now in houses that aren’t properly equipped and when tunnel ventilation isn’t used correctly.“Even now, houses with low wind speed will have high mortality rates,” said Brian Fairchild, a UGA Extension poultry scientist.Tunnel ventilation came to the poultry industry in the late 1980s. In a tunnel-ventilated house, hot outside air is pulled through evaporative cooling pads that typically cool the incoming air by 20 degrees or more, said UGA Extension engineer Mike Czarick. Exhaust fans pull the air rapidly through the house, exchanging the air in a minute or less.The wind chill created by the cool breeze can further cool the air by as much as 10 degrees.“When it’s 100 degrees, the cooling produced by the evaporative cooling pads and the wind chill effect have the chickens feeling as if it’s in the mid to high 70s,” Czarick said.UGA poultry scientists and extension engineers didn’t invent tunnel ventilation, Lacy said. But they’ve worked on it extensively over the past 20 years, continuing its development and promoting its currently widespread use. Through hundreds of newsletters, demonstrations and yearly workshops that draw national and international crowds, they keep spreading the word about the chicken-saving technology.In the 1980s, 15-percent to 20-percent mortality was the norm that poultry farmers prepared for when hot weather hit. Now, even with heat waves such as those in Georgia earlier in August, heat-related deaths are almost insignificant.“It was almost a psychological thing to have to pick up dead birds that you had worked so hard over,” Lacy said. “It was sad. And it was all just a matter of unlucky timing. If you had baby birds when a hot spell hit, you were OK. But if you had a few 100-degree days and your birds were ready to go to market, you were cooked.”Add in other innovations such as evaporative cooling, migration fences and solid-walled houses that don’t have windows and chickens are even more comfortable.“The better we are at raising birds, the better price we can give consumers,” Fairchild said. “Our chickens are being really well taken care of, even in hot-weather months. I’d much rather be inside those houses than outside this time of year.”last_img read more

OECS Commission Facilitates Travel and Employment in Canada for 180 Nationals

first_imgBusinessLifestyleNewsRegional OECS Commission Facilitates Travel and Employment in Canada for 180 Nationals by: – May 14, 2020 Share Share Tweet 179 Views   no discussionscenter_img Share Sharing is caring! Ongoing travel restrictions as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic have created challenges the world over. The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP) is no exception, suffering significant setbacks since farmers have been unable to travel.Cognisant of the economic implications of a contracted programme and wary of the health risks of travelling, the OECS Commission – through its Eastern Caribbean Liaison Service (ECLS) – worked closely with the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS), CanAg Travel Services, the Government of Canada and Sunwing Airlines to facilitate the safe passage of 180 OECS nationals to Canada, via a chartered flight, on Tuesday, 12 May 2020.Stringent COVID-19 ‘Health and Safety’ protocols were established prior to the departure of the workers. These protocols were implemented locally, by the respective Ministry of Labour, with support from the Ministry of Health and the Police force; and in Canada by the ECLS, in collaboration with Canadian authorities.The key Health and Safety protocols were as follows:Covid-19 testing prior to departure so that test results can be presented on arrival in Canada;Workers provided with travel kits containing face masks, disposable gloves and hand sanitiser;Workers to be quarantined for 14 days on arrival in Canada – WITH FULL PAY;Additional supplementary insurance to cover workers for all eventualities, including with COVID-19;Farm accommodations have been sanitised under the supervision of Canadian Health authorities and the ECLS; andEach farm has an appointed worker representative and is part of a WhatsApp group with the ECLS team in Canada with 24-hour hotline support.The OECS Commission via the ECLS, ensured that all 180 workers were welcomed and assisted on arrival in Canada, by the Head, ECLS, Mr. Olaf Fontenelle and the ECLS team – who will ensure the wellbeing of all OECS farm workers while employed in Canada.OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, commended all parties involved on the success of this initial charter flight stating,“Healthy multilateral collaboration between the OECS Commission, the Government of Canada and the Governments of participating OECS Member States made it possible for these seasonal agricultural workers to benefit from their annual contracts, at a time when OECS economies are most vulnerable and sustaining employment is essential.”“On behalf of the OECS Commission, I wish to thank the Canadian High Commission in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS), Global Affairs Canada and the Temporary Foreign Worker Directorate of the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, for the valuable support provided to transition to work these 180 OECS workers on this initial charter flight – amid COVID-19. I also express gratitude to our Member States, recognising cooperation with Ministries of Labour, for diligently adhering to the stringent health and safety measures put in place for the wellbeing of all.”“Finally, I also wish to thank OECS farm workers for their continued commitment to the programme and their contribution to our economies.”last_img read more